Another 10 Civilians Killed as M23 Rebels, DRC Army Fighting Rages On

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Heavy fighting between the M23 rebels and the Congolese army on Thursday left at least 10 civilians dead.

The fighting occurred near Sake town, about 27 kilometres from Goma City, North Kivu province. Lt Col Ndjike Kaiko Guilaume, Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) spokesperson for North Kivu said that the army and coalition managed to stop M23 rebels from advancing to capture Sake town in Masisi territory.

But later on Thursday night, the M23 rebels’ political spokesperson Lawrence Kanyuka released a statement accusing FARDC soldiers and coalition of targeting densely populated areas with bombs.

Kanyuka claimed that the bombs dropped by FARDC soldiers and coalition left 10 civilians dead and an unspecified number of others injured.

Kankuya also claims that in the form of repelling FARDC and coalition bombings, M23 captured two armoured personnel carriers (APC) and an IVECO truck from FARDC and coalition from Luhonga Hill near Sake.   

Meanwhile, a yet-to-be-identified man was lynched by a mob in Mugunga camp of the displaced. The man, together with two others, was accused of allegedly filming the heavy guns of FARDC as they fired into the positions of M23 rebels. 

The fighting continued into Friday near Kanyabayonga town, north of Rutshuru territory causing mass displacement of civilians. The civilians fled after they saw FARDC soldiers withdrawing from the town.   

Earlier, on Monday, 10 people including eight civilians were killed and nine others injured by bombs fired by FARDC soldiers and coalition forces in the Kikuku area, northern part of Rutshuru territory.   

In March 2022, M23, led by Bertrand Bisimwa and General Sultan Makenga, initiated a conflict against the government.  

The DR Congo government accuses Rwanda of supporting M23, although both Rwanda and M23 vehemently deny these claims.

The rebels assert that they are fighting against corruption, xenophobia, and discrimination within the leadership of DRC.

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